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CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR 2019 EMERGING LEADER AWARD RECIPIENTS
The Emerging Leader Award recognizes CPAs 34 years old and under that are shaping the future of the profession. Each recipient was nominated by their peers for making significant contributions to both their workplace and the community.
MEET OUR AWARD RECIPIENTS
"What excites me is the ability to impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of merchants globally."
Shubham Datta, CPA, CA
As Shopify’s Corporate Development Manager, Shubham acts as innovator to the executive team, looking for disruptive commerce experiences to accelerate Shopify's product roadmap. Prior to this, Shubham helped fund, grow and exit venture-backed startups as a Director at SurePath Capital Partners. Responsible for “making commerce better for everyone” through continuous investments and acquisitions, Shubham became a CPA to understand and speak the business language of today. In 2014, he co-founded North Pine Ventures, a nonprofit that helped early-stage startups establish long-term success. His fascination with finance functions in high-growth companies led him to create and host The Backbone, a podcast that interviews finance leaders of tech companies and direct-to-consumer brands.
"I'm driven to help businesses grow strategically, and CPAs are equipped to do that effectively."
Abdul-Aziz Garuba Jr., CPA, CMA, MBA, CFE
As Manager of Advisory Services at EY Canada, Aziz leverages technology to improve business processes, meeting client needs with novel, sustainable solutions. He believes CPAs are uniquely qualified to help businesses grow in an AI economy because data insights inform key decisions. Outside of work, Aziz chairs the Canadian Association of Urban Financial Professionals (CAUFP) Corporate Advisory Board, which connects corporations with the Black community through groundbreaking programs that facilitate economic growth and educational opportunities. Inspired by his Grade 11 teacher to pursue accounting, he values the empowering, disruptive effects of learning. Aziz previously worked as Senior Manager of Finance at RBC and is a Certified Fraud Examiner.
"The CPA designation prepared me for myriad career paths in the ever-evolving business world."
Heruka Kumararatne, CPA, CA
After focusing on the technology sector with KPMG Canada for six years, Heruka joined Ross Video, a leading global video production company, where he works directly with the CFO on mergers and acquisitions activity, special projects and initiatives to enhance the company’s finance function. A passionate entrepreneur, in 2019 Heruka helped launch a startup offering digital growth automation solutions for CPA firms; it has already secured multiple leading firms as paid pilot customers. As the company grows, Heruka eagerly anticipates helping firms adopt innovative tools to fuel their growth in the digital era. Heruka is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community and received KPMG’s National Community Leader Purpose Award in 2016.
"I manage an awesome team of professionals who contribute to financial management excellence."
Danielle Lawlor, CPA, CMA
Early in her career, Danielle was appointed as Director of Budget at the Department of National Defence, where she now serves as a Strategic Advisor to the Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Deputy Minister (Finance) of National Defence. She is motivated in leading her team to successfully manage the defence budget, which supports members of the Canadian Armed Forces to achieve their mission and mandate. Her approach to her work is guided by a belief that being an effective public servant depends on courage, perseverance and generosity — unmistakably human qualities. Danielle mentors with the CPA Ontario Mentorship Program and sits on the Financial Management Institute of Canada’s Capital Chapter board of directors.
"Becoming a CPA opens doors, whether in accounting or not. It gives us the tools to do anything."
Meika Vanessa Matthews, CPA, CA, LPA
While working in her specialty as the Assurance Manager at Millards Chartered Professional Accountants, Meika also acts as program leader and mentor for student training, and champions quality as a practice inspector. Meika followed in the footsteps of her late aunt, who encouraged her to pursue the CPA designation. Passionate about supporting her community, Meika is the Treasurer for the Port Dover Foundation, an active member of the Port Dover Board of Trade, and past president of the Simcoe and District Chamber of Commerce. In 2018, she spearheaded a nonpartisan campaign called Folkin' Vote to educate and engage Norfolk County in the municipal election.
"Innovations will allow us to focus on strategy, creativity and interaction — the best parts of our work."
Rachel Ryman, CPA, CA
Rachel is a Senior Manager in Disputes with Deloitte Canada, providing client solutions for lawsuits, insurance claims, valuations and damages quantification. Prior to this, she was a Director of Financial Advisory Services at RSM Canada, where she helped found the Canadian chapter of STAR, an employee-led group for the stewardship, training, advancement and retention of women in the company. Rachel admires those who inspire action through sheer grit, and cites her parents as role models. As a manager, data “storyteller” and business developer, she typifies the ingenuity and flexibility that she feels make CPAs adaptable. Rachel is a board member of B’nai Brith Canada and a member of the Ontario Expropriation Association.
"I'm inspired by the bold ambition of my job — to explore human potential and future possibilities."
Gwendolyn Chen Wang, CPA, CA, MBA, AvMP
As Director of Executive Projects at WE, Gwendolyn is responsible for planning, executing and overseeing programs and projects, ensuring that new initiatives are launched successfully. Drawing inspiration from the kindness of her grandmother and the global vision of Bill Gates, she applies groundbreaking strategies that build up the movement to mitigate inequality and empower the disenfranchised. Prior to working with WE, she worked for Air Canada as Manager of Market Initiatives. In 2018, she co-founded the Toronto North CPA Ontario Association, where she now serves as a board member. Gwendolyn’s current role is both local and global in scale, combining her passion for exploration with her drive to change lives as a CPA.